Astronomers Discover Stars Previously Thought to Be Too Massive to Exist

Researchers led by Paul Crowther, professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sheffield, UK, have discovered a cluster of young stars that are about twice as big as the maximum size that astrophysicists thought could exist. Each is about 300 times the size of our sun:

In the study, the researchers estimated the maximum possible mass for stars within the two clusters, and the relative number of the most massive stars. Their findings have caused them to reevaluate current estimates for how large these stars can be.

"The smallest stars are limited to more than about 80 times more than Jupiter, below which they are 'failed stars' or brown dwarfs," said Olivier Schnurr, a research team member from the Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam in Germany. "Our new finding supports the previous view that there is also an upper limit to how big stars can get, although it raises the limit by a factor of two, to about 300 solar masses."

Link via Geekosystem | Photo of NGC 3603 courtesy of NASA

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